Jay Jorgensen, Walmart’s global chief ethics and compliance officer, to exit the company in January

by Kim Souza (ksouza@talkbusiness.net) 4,562 views 

Jay Jorgensen, global chief ethics and compliance officer for Walmart Inc. since 2012, is leaving the company effective Jan. 31. Daniel Trujillo, who has served as senior vice president and international chief compliance officer, will replace Jorgensen, according to an internal company memo sent Friday (Dec. 14) by Rachel Brand, Walmart’s chief legal officer.

Jorgensen was hired by Walmart shortly after the retail giant came under investigation for alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). He was tasked with designing and overseeing a complete revamp of Walmart’s internal compliance protocol. Jorgensen and Trujillo joined Walmart at the same time and worked together to implement comprehensive policies in 14 diverse subject areas ranging from anti-corruption to food safety.

The company also established a chief ethics and compliance officer and a centralized compliance team in every internal market, according to Brand’s memo.

Jorgensen came to Walmart with international experience and also worked as a law clerk for Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist, and to Samuel Alito, a judge on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Brand noted in the memo “Jorgensen has decided he’s ready to take on a new challenge.”

“With this robust program now in place, this is a natural time to transition leadership,” she wrote.

Brand said Trujillo is well-suited to step into the job, and because the two men worked together to engineer the compliance protocol, there will be continuity and a smooth transition for the program.

“I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Daniel over the past nine months,” Brand’s memo said. “And have seen first-hand his ability to lead strategic change and strengthen our business. His integrity, high expectations and passion for the business and our associates will ensure our continued success in leading a strong ethics and compliance program.”

Walmart is rumored to be close to settling its FCPA investigation, which has been underway for six years. Walmart’s FCPA investigation has cost the company $892 million in FCPA and compliance-related costs since 2012. That doesn’t include the recently proposed class action settlement of $160 million, or the $283 million the company set aside in November 2017 toward a possible resolution with the Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission.

Walmart expects to spend another $40 million this year for FCPA and compliance-related matters. The retailer has not given any guidance beyond that.

Walmart has reported previously that ongoing settlement talks with the agencies had progressed to the point where it could finally reasonably estimate a probable loss.

The FCPA investigation appears to be winding down according to FCA expert Mike Kohler, a law professor at Southern Illinois University. He told Talk Business & Politics a year ago the suit was complicated with lots of tentacles given Walmart’s large footprint. He said the suit should be resolved in the coming months and he credits Walmart with transparency over the past several years and investing heavily in safeguards within its own infrastructure to reinforce compliance in the future.

Brand, a former high ranking official with the U.S. Justice Department, joined Walmart in February. She reports directly to President and CEO Doug McMillon and heads the company’s global ethics and compliance and global investigation, security, aviation and travel departments.

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